III. Sustainable and Sound Development of Forestry
1. Trend of Forestry Management
The price of cedar stumpage in 2002 was 24% of that in 1980, standing at the 1956 level. It is important to develop conditions in which forest owners can have motivation for continuous forestry production activities.
Due to reluctance to log production caused by declining timber prices, the percentage of forest owners who sold forestry products decreased to 7% in 2000 from 49% in 1960. In 2000, only 1% of private plantation forests of age class 9 were logged, as compared to 6% in 1987.
Forest Owners' Associations take charge of 90% of planting and 70% of thinning works in private forests, playing an important role as the contractors of forest work operation. In terms of forestry business units that mainly conduct reforestation and tending, the larger the sales from contract work, the higher the share of Forest Owners' Associations. Forest Owners' Associations play an important role also in employment offers, as 70% of workers engaged in forestry for 210 days or longer are employees of the Forest Owners' Associations.
Private forest enterprises other than Forest Owners' Associations hold a share of 60% of log production, taking an important position role in forestry activities. Considering labor productivity by the scale of log production, the larger the scale of enterprise, the higher the productivity, together with the rate of using high-performance forestry machinery.
Japan's forests are owned on a small scale and in a dispersed way. Under the conditions where incentive to management is declining, it is necessary to make forest management and operation work carried out collectively by forest owners and forestry enterprises that realize efficient and stable management.
In Japan, one out of six forestry workers is female. Women are also playing important roles as operators of high-performance forestry machinery, and also as work force in such local industries as the processing of specialty products.
2. Trend of Forestry Workforce
In order to ensure appropriate forest maintenance and sustainable forestry development, it is essential to foster and secure forestry workers, who will take charge of such activities.
The number of forestry workers has been shrinking, and the ages of the workers have been rising. However, the number of newly employed forestry workers is on the increase, growing by more than 2,000 persons annually from 1999. 90% of newly employed forestry workers hope for some kind of policy support, such as the strengthening of their employers' management bases.
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